Microsoft has announced Windows Live Messenger instant messaging (IM) software for the XBox 360, in another step towards making the game console a home internet access device.

Windows Live Messenger for XBox 360 will allow users to interface with other iterations of the communications software for PCs and mobile devices. XBoxes will be updated with the software for free during the XBox 360 Spring Update, on May 7. Xbox users can chat with up to six others at the same time.

XBox owners can use IM using the console's virtual keyboard, or can plug in a USB keyboard. XBox Live already supports voice and video chat, the company said.